Governor Laura Kelly Announces $16 Billion in Federal Grants to Support Kansas Venues Affected by COVID-19

Governor Laura Kelly today announced that $16 billion in grants will be administered to shuttered venues through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) program by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

“Kansas venues are an integral part of our history, our culture, and our communities,” Governor Kelly said. “I strongly support the SBA’s efforts to aid these important local businesses. These grants will ensure venues emerge from the pandemic with the resources they need, and I encourage all Kansas venues that are eligible to apply for the program.”

The SVOG program will be administered by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.

Eligible applicants may qualify for the SVOG grant equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue for 2019, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million.

$2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees. The program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020.

“Kansas venues were hit especially hard by this pandemic, and this program was established specifically to support them,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “SBA has created a strong lifeline for venues in our state, and I would encourage any business owner who feels this funding could help them to apply. To Kansans with impacted venues – you are not alone. We’re here to help.”

Eligible entities must have been in operation by February 29, 2020 and include:

  • Live venue operators or promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Relevant museum operators, zoos, and aquariums
  • Motion picture theater operators
  • Venue must have fixed seating
  • Talent representatives
  • Owners of eligible business entities

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been catastrophic for our industry, with most venues facing 95%+ revenue loss,” Adam Hartke, Co-Owner of the Cotillion in Wichita, said. “Through these hard times we have committed to persevere to become once again economic, tourism, and cultural drivers within Kansas.”

“Prior to COVID, our economic impact within Kansas was over $400 million annually, and we brought tens of thousands of tourists to Kansas from across the country for shows at our venues every year,” Jessie Hartke, Cotillion Co-Owner, said. “We are ready to get back to work, and with the continued overwhelming support of the State of Kansas, grow our industry for years to come, gaining Kansas the recognition it deserves as a vital tour stop for traveling musicians, and shedding light on the vast depth of local talent found within our local communities.”

All eligible Kansas venues are encouraged to take part in the SVOG program. You can learn more about the Program and apply here.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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